Digital Lemonade

March 2nd, 2009
by Dan Schaible

Outing someone nowadays has an entirely different meaning than it did 10 years ago. Today, “outing” someone refers to revealing their true identity online.lemons.jpg Golly Homer, you mean people would have to actually be held accountable for what they say under their digital alias? This leads one to believe we have collectively arrived at a place that says it was once okay to be irresponsible. Hold that thought for just a moment …

The convergence of new digital modes ¬†and economic amorality, combined with some good old-fashioned denial puts the media in a challenging situation. To cite a close-to-home example, the old-line media lost track of their advertisers’ need to connect with audiences and did nothing to stay connected to the last two or three generations who are linked to the world by digital tethers. Hence the old media groups are in a spiral trying to deliver the younger audiences to their advertisers who are no longer interested in +55 year olds.

With the financial markets being closed for the present – the economic amorality part, denies all businesses in crisis (media included) a life vest. Of course, they could have crossed the stream before they needed the life vest, but that is the denial part.

Just like with the “outed” it all comes back to lemonade or, to use another word, responsibility. So I ask, “Who are you responsible to?” Note, I did not ask, “Who are you responsible for?”

I am going to go out on a limb and say that a big part of our current problems are the result of this very semantic confusion. I have recently accepted the responsibility for the technical effort here at BurrellesLuce and in so doing my ultimate responsibility is to insure that our technology meets the needs of our customers and exceeds their expectations. The reality is that it is the IT team that is actually meeting the need, not me. IT’s customers are the sales department, the production department, and the finance department. What IT is responsible for is how it meets its responsibility to them.

What about the company’s customers you ask? In respecting the ability of the sales, production, marketing, and finance management to be responsible to their customers, the IT team can focus on IT’s customers. Meeting the needs of my customer requires having a belief that this will lead to my needs being met.

This is no small task for the “outed” generation. It is about an orientation to “you” from “me,” to “I respect your ability” from “I am better,” from lemons to lemonade.

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